One month ago, Clovis North and Clovis West engaged in a boys’ basketball duel that needed three overtimes and a series of clutch shots to determine the winner.
The Golden Eagles won that instant classic, and in the second meeting between the two TRAC powerhouses Tuesday, they won again. Except the sequel did not quite match the original.
Anchored by its stifling defense that limited Clovis North to 15 points in the second half, Clovis West ran away with a 70-41 rout Tuesday to open Tri-River Athletic Conference play.
Clovis West (19-1) and head coach Vance Walberg won its 7th straight game over Clovis North (10-7), the last Bronco win coming in the 2019 Nike Invitational championship game.
“There was no special game plan,” Walberg said. “It was just the kids’ intensity. With it being their first league game and being their rival, yeah, they picked it up.”
The Golden Eagles turned in a team effort led by senior forward Tyus Parrish-Tillman’s 19 points. Junior guard Issac Martinez added 13, and sophomore Zach Chauhan chipped in nine. Chauhan’s contributions did not stop on offense, either; the 6-foot-3 small forward guarded Clovis North’s leading scorer, Connor Amundsen, for most of the night.
In the one-on-one battle between stud sophomores, Amundsen finished the game without scoring.
“Zach Chauhan – Zach probably gave us the best game for a sophomore, his best game ever, for sure,” Walberg said. “He just did a lot of good little things, a tip here, a tip there. He did a great job on Connor, because [Amundsen] is a heck of a player.”
A lot was different between the Dec. 11 triple-overtime thriller and Tuesday’s rematch. For one, Clovis West was not as successful from three-point range, connecting on just 1-of-12 attempts from downtown.
It didn’t matter in a game where Clovis North had its second-lowest scoring output this season. The Broncos scored 41 points in the first half alone on Dec. 11.
“They were tougher than us tonight, they were grittier,” said Clovis North head coach Tony Amundsen. “Obviously, not being able to score around the basket hurt us a little bit. Tyus did a nice job. All the way around, their defense was definitely better this time than it was last time.”
Clovis North only trailed 31-26 at halftime, but a 9-0 Clovis West run kickstarted a dominant second half that put the game out of reach.
Clovis North will travel to Clovis East (12-7, 1-0 TRAC) Friday, while Clovis West will play at Central (10-6, 1-0 TRAC).